The climate crisis, the war in Ukraine, and the associated energy shortages and inflation dominate our media and probably also influence our thought patterns. There seems to be no foreseeable relief in sight for 2023 either. What this may mean for the shopping center industry is obvious. While fear and worry try to constrict us, it should be courage that allows us to open up to new possibilities, that drives us and enables us to come up with new ideas and approaches. Thus, we are collectively challenged to confront and counteract this downward spiral with openness, courage, and, above all, optimism.
It is a positive attitude with which we must tackle the current challenges, but it is also the positive mood we must pass on to our customers in our centers. Now more than ever, it is important to design these places as “feel-good places” and to load them up with positive energy. People need places where they can meet, as we have all already learned from past lockdowns. The advancement of online retail must be countered by the best shopping experience that can be provided.
A survey by the IKU shows that for 72% of respondents Christmas lighting – despite energy shortages – simply belongs, probably also because people are seeking out positive experiences right now and light is simply important for our psyche. It was certainly a wise decision from the side of the centers not to follow the populist discussion surrounding the topic of energy saving – and to go along without Christmas light shine. The fact that the power consumption of light displays constructed with LED lighting technology being low is welcomed. Of course, there is no question that centers will continue to be challenged to save energy – and therefore challenged by energy costs. If we solve our energy issues today, both our environment and the climate will benefit.
Although these topics seem harsh to us now, there always exists a silver lining. As a well-known quote so aptly puts it: “Even from the stones placed upon your path, can you build beautiful things”.
Read more about expert opinions in our Online Special: “Industry Outlook 2023”.